Thursday, April 30, 2009


Besides Dr. Barnett Rubin, Dr. Thomas Barfield is a person we should be listening to. Because American President and policy advisers in USA tend to depend heavily on their critical and pointed analysis.

However before you go to the article below - must see. Click on TALIBAN FEVER a 2 minute animated video.


Boston University anthropologist Thomas Barfield has been publishing relentlessly ever since the mid-1970s, when he wandered northern Afghanistan doing doctoral fieldwork. He has since emerged as one of America's foremost experts on the region, focusing on political development, provincial-state relations, and customary law. In 2006, Barfield, now president of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to complete his upcoming book on the changing concepts of political legitimacy in Afghanistan. I caught up with the professor to discuss the P-word—Pakistan—and its role in our current predicament. At the time of our interview, Pakistan's government had not yet signed its agreement with the Taliban that allowed for the imposition of strict Islamic law in six northwestern regions, including Swat.



Mother Jones: To what degree does future Afghan stability depend on reconciliation between India and Pakistan?

Thomas Barfield: Pakistan could also dissolve: The four provinces have very little holding them together.The India/Pakistan relationship is probably central. Pakistan has from its inception defined itself in opposition to India, and that makes it difficult. But Kashmir needs to be reconciled.

MJ: Dissolve into what?

TB: Four ministates or something, in which case your policy changes radically. If you're dealing with rump nuclear-armed Punjab and three separate, independent nations, then reconciliation almost becomes a moot point.

MJ: Can you make peace in Afghanistan without dealing with Kashmir?

TB: Yes, you can. Kashmir's a separate issue, and settling it would not necessarily stop the Pakistanis from meddling in Afghanistan—which they used to talk about as their fifth province.

MJ: And also an extension of their battle with India.

TB: They view everything as an extension of their battle with India. They bought our tanks and planes so that they could fight India, with which they have lost three wars. It's totally not in Pakistan's self-interest to do this, and yet they're utterly driven by it. But if you solve the India thing, I presume that would go a long way to providing regional peace.

MJ: What can the US do to facilitate this, given that India doesn't want outsiders involved in the Kashmir dispute?

TB: It's not clear Pakistan's military can survive without our subsidies—it's a bankrupt country. One of the things for us to tell Pakistan is that we may not want to get involved in this directly, but we want to see this problem solved. And in this the US is probably neutral, because there's no constituency in the United States that's keen on Kashmir one way or the other. Most people don't even know where it is.

MJ: Pakistan's army and ISI, its military intelligence service, basically made the Taliban what it is. Was this support driven by ideology or India strategy?

TB: Part of it was its India strategy, this "strategic depth" they talk about. The Pakistani belief was, "What if the Indians overran the plains? We would regroup in Afghanistan and drive them out." But one look at Afghanistan and you say, "Wait a minute, how are you going to move your equipment?" It's ridiculous. It's not strategic depth. It's nothing. The Pakistanis also have a paranoia—which they actually now might make true—that India is trying to surround them, since India has always had good relations with Afghanistan, and Afghanistan and Pakistan have always had bad relations.

MJ: How come?

TB: Afghanistan was the only state that voted against Pakistan's admission to the United Nations on the grounds that it was an illegitimate state, it shouldn't be allowed to exist. With Partition there were only two options: Join India or join Pakistan. The Afghans said there should be two more options, that the Northwest Frontier province and Baluchistan should be able to vote to become independent or join Afghanistan—they said people weren't given those options and therefore it was an unfair process. If you look at Afghan maps of Pakistan, they always include what they call Pashtunistan, which runs to the Indus River. As you can imagine, Pakistan is not real pleased to see maps like that, which give away half its territory. So there's been this hostility. And essentially, because India's been opposed to Pakistan, Afghanistan has had good relations with Delhi. But the big thing is that Afghans hold Pakistan responsible for most of the trouble in their country.

MJ: India has also been visibly doing good things in Afghanistan.

TB: Oh, a lot. When the truck bomb went off at the Indian Embassy last July in Kabul, the Indians saw that as a calling card from ISI saying, "Get out. This is our territory." And they responded by saying, "We're going to give Afghanistan another $400 million."

MJ: Wasn't Jalaluddin Haqqani the bomber?

TB: Yeah. But he's an Afghan who fights for the Taliban, and this wasn't a Taliban operation. This was a message from Islamabad to India. The bomb went off as India's military attaché was coming to work, so it wasn't just a bomb; it was an assassination specifically targeting one of their high military officials.

MJ: Does Pashtun nationalism play any role in Pakistan's military activities?

TB: Pashtuns are a small minority—something like 15 percent—so their nationalism is looked upon very critically. The government and military are dominated by people from the Punjab.

MJ: Right. In fact, many Pashtuns basically live on reservations, the tribal areas, that operate under a 1901 law.

TB: Yes, the Frontier Crimes Regulation Act. Some of the Pashtuns feel like they are a colony of Pakistan. They're not full citizens, and the act gives the Pakistani government the right to collective punishment, to burn down villages, to ban trade, and even to put whole tribes under interdict—even if they're not living in the area. So it's fairly draconian, and it comes directly out of British colonial rule.

MJ: So if the army isn't Pashtun, how does a smaller element like the ISI exert so much control?

TB: A lot of people in the ISI are Pashtuns because they had the language skills. During the Soviet War period, [Mohammad] Zia ul-Haq began Islamizing the army. Before, the army was fairly resolutely secular, but since the '80s you saw a greater and greater influence of Islamists in the army as well as the ISI. By the time they were helping the Taliban, some [army officials] were highly sympathetic to this idea of a Wahhabi-style Islamic state. Pakistan was formed as a state for Muslims separated off from India—it's name means "land of the religiously pure"—and it's always been like, "Well, are we Muslim enough?" All states founded as places to protect a religious group run into that problem. Israel has that problem with its right wing, and in Pakistan it's even stronger.

MJ: How has army support of the jihadis imperiled the Pakistani government?

TB: The easiest example: The jihadis took over Swat Valley, which is full of Pashtuns, but was under the direct rule of the government and always had been. It had become one of the more secular, progressive areas of the Pashtuns, because it was a resort. It had ski lodges, and was a big tourist place for foreigners in the '70s and '80s. Swat is only a couple hours drive from Islamabad. This is like rebels taking Fredericksburg and sending their representatives to Washington saying, "We want autonomy. Northern Virginia isn't good enough for us."

MJ: And Pakistan has basically bent over.

TB: Yes, it really has. They have trained their troops to fight conventional warfare on the plains with tanks, with missiles, against India. So in a place like Swat, where you've got guys with guns fighting in mountains, and who are experts on ambush, they have just trounced the Pakistan army. The army is able to take back the major roads, the major towns, but its people are not trained and they don't seem to have the stomach for taking these guys on in essentially a counterinsurgency.

MJ: Yet we've given the Pakistanis more than $10 billion, some $6 billion for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the border, ostensibly to fight the jihadis. Has Pakistan taken us for a ride?

TB: Oh sure. But they took us for a ride during the Soviet War, too. They feel they're experts at playing us for suckers. A lot of these problems were evident, three, four, even six years ago, but nobody, including the Bush administration, was particularly interested. All the attention has been on Iraq. So this gave the Pakistanis a lot of flexibility to cause mischief. As far as they were concerned, at some point the US was going to get out of there; their whole strategy was to keep the Taliban in reserve and keep their own options open. Now people are seeing that the whole region could go up. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. It has 173 million people. It's big. So the focus and the context—even the appointment of [US diplomat Richard] Holbrooke to be special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan—implies that both countries are part of the problem.

MJ: So what happens if Pakistan dissolves?

TB: There will probably be an independent Pashtun state, unlikely to join with Afghanistan, because for all the lip service Afghans give to Pashtunistan, they can count. If they were part of this state, they would be a minority, and that's probably not a good idea from their point of view. There could be an independent Baluchistan. That's Pakistan's major gas producing area, and there's been an insurgency there for a long time. Some people say Baluchistan might join with Sindh, the other major populated area. Sindh is mostly Shia, and they feel persecuted by these radical Sunnis. There's really a large number of Shias in Pakistan that these radical Sunnis consider to be heretics—they are mostly in the south. Also in the south, in Karachi, you have all the so-called Muhajirs, the people who left India to resettle in Pakistan. So effectively you'd get three or four states. The most powerful would still be the Punjab. That would be the one holding the nuclear arms—Islamabad, Lahore, that area.

MJ: Who would be in charge?

TB: The Punjabis. They see themselves as the dominant group in Pakistan. They're more moderate on the religious and political spectrums—as long as they can be in charge. The army that you see now is mostly Punjabi, so you'd have this large army overlooking this rump state with lots of nukes. The other thing to consider is the elites are highly modern and moderate, highly westernized: Could a social revolution break out in which the elites who have run the place since it was founded are displaced by an entirely different social class that is more radical—that doesn't have the same vested interests or education? The army has always stood to prevent that, so presumably if they would hold on to the army, the army would hold on to Punjab and prevent things from getting out of hand. But then the question would be, if it starts to fall apart like that, would India feel the need to make a preemptive strike to go after the nukes?

MJ: Yikes!

TB: Yes. They do not want to see it that way, because when people start planning three or four moves ahead and worrying about preempting this and that, things can get pretty dangerous pretty fast.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The greed of Sonia Gandhi and her family has crossed all bounds of decency.

With just three weeks to go before the Congress-led UPA government’s term ends, Ottavio Quattrocchi, the lone surviving suspect in the Bofors payoff case, no longer figures in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s list of wanted persons.

The 12-year Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) against the Italian businessman has been taken off the “Interpol Notices” section of the agency’s website.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday said it was a “farewell gift” from the Congress-led government to a “close friend” of party president Sonia Gandhi.



In an article written on March 18th 2009: INDIA has $1.4 Trillion of Illegal money stashed in Swiss Banks - Time to bring it home !, I wrote in the first para: “Rajeev Gandhi’s untimely death left Sonia Gandhi extremely wealthy. The true extent of her wealth became known only when the Soviet archives were thrown open following the collapse of the Soviet Union. KGB archives revealed that as far back as 1982, when Indira Gandhi was still prime minister, Soviet trading agencies were channeling funds into a company controlled by her son and future Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

This was also brought to light by Harvard Russian scholar Yvgenia Albats in her book The State Within A State: The KGB and Its Hold on Russia. The Swiss news-magazine Schweizer Illustrierte (November 11, 1991) provided more details. Citing newly—opened KGB records, it reported that Sonia Gandhi, widow of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was controlling a secret account worth 2.5 billion Swiss francs (about 2 billion dollars at current exchange rates) in a Swiss bank in her minor son's name.

“Dr. Yevgeniya Albats is a Soviet journalist who was appointed as member of the official KGB Commission set up by President Yeltsin in 1991. She had full access to secret files of the KGB.


Dr. Albats disclosed in her book that KGB chief Victor Chebrikov in December 1985 had sought in writing from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), ‘authorization to make payments in US dollars to the family members of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, namely Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Ms Paola Maino, mother of Sonia Gandhi.’

CPSU payments were authorized by a resolution, CPSU/CC/No 11228/3 dated December 20, 1985; and endorsed by the USSR Council of Ministers in Directive No. 2633/Rs dated December 12, 1985. These payments had been coming since 1971, as payments received by Sonia Gandhi's family, and ‘have been audited in CPSU/CC resolution No. 11187/22 OP dated October 12, 1984.’

How precise must one get to book the guilty? These are official KGB records.


The Indian delegation attending G-20 summit did not seem at all keen on supporting the French demand to make tax havens transparent and create a new global financial architecture that has more regulation.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's reaction to the growing chorus for getting back ill-gotten wealth, squirreled in tax havens, has been quite casual. This makes it quite clear that he would not back the demands of French President, Nicholas Sarkozy, and others to regulate and tame the global financial system ahead of any coordinated stimulus.

Indians, Swiss bank sources claimed in 2006, have more than $ 1.4 trillion squirreled in their bank vaults. This figure could reach astronomical levels if the funds of Indians in other tax havens are added up. Experts estimate that the total quantum of money that has flown out to safe vaults abroad could go beyond $ 2-3 trillion dollars. So substantial is this amount that if it returns to India then it could make a serious difference in alleviating poverty and transforming its inadequate infrastructure. More importantly, it will also bring out in the open the identity of those who perpetrated this organised loot for so many years. Most of the illegal funds are sourced from defence deals, corruption and large scale siphoning off from development programmes. If the details of the Swiss bank account holders ever come out in the open, it will be a fascinating story of how India has been pauperised by its ruling elite.


For more than three years now, INDIA have not been able to make much headway in tracing the $ 8 billion found in a mysterious Pune-based stud farm owner's account in UBS, Switzerland. The money trail led to Virgin Island and to Saudi arms leader, Adnan Khashoggi, but the enforcement agencies have drawn no conclusions as one of the partners of the stud farm owner is a close relative of a big business family with close ties with the ruling party. This old business family, besides other interests, also serves as agents of some arms manufacturers. The belief is that pressure from this powerful group has prevented government to take its probe with the UBS to its logical conclusion.

However, after UBS wilted under US pressure to release the details of their nationals that evaded tax and parked their funds with them, there has been a flicker of hope in other countries too, that such details may finally see the light of the day. Indians have not shown much urgency in following up on US government's enterprise- due a host of reasons.

This is election time in India and a wrong time to follow bad money. Indian elections are funded through black money and a lot of cash sitting in foreign bank accounts returns through the hawala route.

DOMESTIC POLITICS: CONGRESS MAKES MONEY HERE TOO (and so does all other political parties too!)

Even in domestic politics it seems the Congress Party (referred to as Palm party) has made money making an art. The article by Maloy Krishna Dhar clearly alludes to a chain of command of making money . Maloy Dhar writes: What you have given here is the darshan money ( BuA: Indian word meaning giving money to someone just to see a person). It qualifies you to be short listed and your name to be forwarded by the Pradesh party to the High Command (HC). The High Command (whosoever it might be) would be the final arbitrator. The HC is helped by A, B. C. & D (no name please).

Once your name is forwarded, go over to Delhi with a few supporters meet A, B, C, & D with adequate lubricants. Carry trunk full of money. Do not forget to meet X Patel. He is the conscience keeper of the HC. Satisfy him with the demanded amount. The final satisfaction lay with the HC. If you have any conduit to reach the HC, spend lavishly and reach there. The entire process may cost you rupees 10 million (= Rupees one crore).

(BuA: Mr X Patel - hmmm, who can that be - Sonia's close confidante - AHMED PATEL??, HC = High Command a possible reference to SONIA GANDHI).

It’s India’s money that has been looted by foreigners and corrupt middlemen and most treasonously – by the executive branch of defense department of Govt of India. For every sub-standard defense procurement, look no further than the tax havens abroad where our politicians have stashed our hard earned money for their family. I will certainly not tolerate a flight of my country’s capital by foreigners – again !

At a time when our poor farmers are languishing in debt burden and economic crisis is hurting the average Indian – this illegal money stashed abroad is making us seethe in anger.

Unwinding of tax havens, MANY OF THEM UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE UK GOVERNMENT, would ensure that the development funds marked for the poor in Africa, Latin America and Asia do not find their way to the safes of banks in foreign countries. After all, many of the multinational banks have been recipient of drug money and kickbacks. History would bear testimony that some of the money in these banks have origin in opium. The world would be a different place when arms dealers, mercenaries and war-mongers, drug dealers have no place to hide their cash. Surely, this would impact terror funding, covert wars and so much of misery that this unaccounted wealth heaps on the poor of the world.



Monday, April 27, 2009


In my endeavour to bring important news from across the border, I have received permission from AYAZ AMIR to upload his excellent article in this blog.

Ayaz Amir is a renowned Pakistani journalist, and is a newly elected Member of National Assembly in Pakistan's Parliament.
He is also known as a politician. His columns are critical of the Pakistan Army's role in politics throughout the history of the country. He is considered to be liberal, arguing passionately the case for rule of law, democracy, and an end to failed military rule along with extremist versions of Islam.

In parliamentary elections, held on February 18th, 2008, Ayaz Amir won a seat in the National Assembly contesting from Chakwal (Punjab province), representing the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)or PML-N.

Ayaz Amir was a captain in Pakistan Army who resigned/released his commission. He remained an MPA in the Punjab Assembly representing Chakwal.


When a state and its military forces mentally reconcile themselves to defeat, one can only mourn the event. There is nothing left to say. It's not that we don't recognise what has just happened or what the ANP government in the Frontier and the federal government in Islamabad, backed by the National Assembly, have just agreed to. Munich is written all over it.

But we are trying to put a gloss on it and are putting forward all sorts of justifications - that there was no way out and that signing the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation will bring lasting peace to Swat and its environs -- but in our heart of hearts we know that, our courage having fled and no vision worth the name to guide us, we have acquiesced in a great act of surrender.

Before India our eastern command laid down its arms in 1971, not its spirit or soul. Before the Taliban in Swat we have ceded a part of our national soul.

We can't stand up to the Americans. So we do their bidding in matters large and small and endure lectures from them on how to fix our problems. Any American functionary, high or low, has only to come to Islamabad to be treated like a colossus of diplomacy and military skill. We can't stand up to the Taliban, whether in Waziristan or Swat. So we sign deals with them from positions of abject weakness and call them acts of the highest statesmanship. We look like nothing so much as a ship lost on the open seas with no pilot on deck and no hand on the tiller.

Since when did victorious armies lay down their arms? The Taliban under the command of Maulana Fazlullah have been victorious in Swat, having fended off several operations -- I am afraid we have lost count--mounted by the army. Are we now expecting that these victorious hordes, in a reversal of history never before recorded, are about to don pacifist robes and meekly hand in the tools of their victory? Which world are we living in?

Losing is nothing unusual. It's part of life and happens all the time. The Americans were defeated in Vietnam but they put their signatures to no document of surrender. But the ANP government in the Frontier, reduced to despair--many of its leaders in Swat killed, many forced to flee from that idyllic vale -- is portraying surrender not as surrender but as singular redemption, the key to permanent peace.

It was smart of President Asif Zardari to send the "System of Justice Regulation" to the National Assembly so that the shame of it should be equally shared by all. The MQM was the only party to voice its objections and abstain in the voting for the resolution when it was put before the house. This is one of the ironies we must live with: a party whose hands are sullied with so much, emerging in this debate as the champion of sanity and moderation.

The Regulation as signed into law is a set of judicial procedures. On the face of it there is nothing wrong with these procedures and in fact their adoption in the rest of the country could well lead to a speedier dispensation of justice. But this is only the surface appearance of things.

The overriding implication of signing the Regulation is that the supreme power in Swat -and indeed not only in Swat but the whole of Malakand Division, a fair amount of real estate - is the Taliban. Government and army have ceded control of Malakand Division to the forces of Maulana Fazlullah. And they have done this at the point of the gun.

The Taliban have every reason to celebrate. But why is the Frontier government congratulating itself? This must be one of those rare occasions in Pakhtoon history - and the ANP is a Pakhtoon party - when one section of Pakhtoons is hailing defeat as victory. And it wants the rest of the country to go along with this charade.

Strange things are happening in Pakistan. Since emerging on the skyline of Karachi the MQM has dominated that city's politics with a mixture of popular support and, where needed, the unabashed use of force. There would be no soul so foolhardy as to speak against Maulana Fazlullah in Swat. It takes a brave soul to speak against Altaf Bhai in Karachi. General Pervez Musharraf helped the MQM in every way he could. The MQM returned the favour by being his most loyal ally. The bloodbath that took place in Karachi on May 12, 2007, who was responsible for it?

Altaf Bhai called me from London the other day and said that in order to save Pakistan we must all join hands and forgive and forget. He spoke at some length, with the passion and eloquence that are his forte. No one can disagree with his sentiments but if anyone could ask him to consider that if the media in Karachi live in fear of the MQM and if MQM supporters get touchy even at the faintest hint of criticism of the MQM leader, then what, in real terms, is the difference between the politics of Karachi and what we see in Swat? A harsh comparison no doubt but one I hope, in the new spirit of democracy he appears to be advocating, he will forgive me for making.

These are depressing times for Pakistan mainly because while our troubles are many, and our challenges daunting, there is no sense of direction and very little by way of reassuring leadership. Before the 'long march' things were easy in that everything could be blamed on Zardari (just as, before that, everything could be blamed on Pervez Musharraf). Now it's not so easy.

With the restoration of the judges deposed by Musharraf we have lost another slogan -- that of an independent judiciary -- behind which we could duck and ignore other issues. Now that luxury is no longer available.

There are no quick-fix answers to life's complications. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry can improve the dispensation of justice. That is all. Political leadership has to come from the political class and military direction from the military.

The party in waiting, the self-declared party of the future, is the PML-N whose hallmark, when critical thinking is called for and hard decisions are to be made, is, alas, a fudge: sound and fury in which it is extremely hard to detect a coherent meaning.

Does the PML-N have any policy regarding what once-upon-a-time was the 'war on terror' and now God alone knows is what? The nation is dying for a lead, a clarion call to arms. But when the PML-N had a one-in-a-million chance to take a clear position on Swat's Justice Regulation all it could muster was another fudge. Here was an opportunity to say that while we were against American diktat we also could not go along with Taliban diktat. But it was lost.

Coming to power is not the problem. The PML-N is already in power in Punjab, and will make it to power at the centre when the opportunity comes. But will it be able to deliver? Can it give the lead the nation wants and the people of Pakistan deserve? That is the question. Nawaz Sharif has been prime minister of Pakistan twice before. He will have to be a better prime minister of Pakistan next time round if Pakistan is to get out of the woods and surmount the terrifying challenges it currently faces.

Pakistan's democracy needs more fine-tuning. Many of the Musharraf amendments in the Constitution need to be done away with. But, realistically speaking, Pakistan has all the democracy that it can safely handle. Democracy therefore is no longer the problem. Our national debate must move on and focus on the battle for national survival which is staring us in the face.

We must not dance to American tunes. We have done too much of this in our history and need to think for ourselves and stand up on our own feet. At the same time we don't need to buckle under the advancing threat of the Taliban. It requires exceptional optimism to think that after the Swat deal Fazlullah's Taliban will rest on their laurels and not exploit their victory.

The American presence in Afghanistan is the root of the troubles we face. But as long as it lasts -- and there is nothing we can do to force America from there -- capitulating before the Taliban and ceding more ground to them should be no option either. If we go down this path, there will be precious little left to save.


KAMRAN SHAFI writing in DAWN asks: The ISPR (official Pakistan Army mouth-piece), when rebutting or complaining about the media actually copies its communications to the directorate general of the ISI! What does the ISI have to do with the media?

(BuA: Very interesting point above)

There is talk of a general amnesty for the Swat renegades, no matter what their crimes against humanity. Crimes such as decapitation; robbing graves and shooting up corpses and hanging them after decapitating the dead bodies; slaughtering women school teachers and 70-year old ex-servicemen. Amnesty for these Yahoos, sirs?

What is wrong with everyone? Must the Pakistani state debase itself in this manner? Must it prove again and again that it is mendacious enough to let its own monsters do what they will to whomever they will, and that it will then help them get away with it? Must the Pakistani nation, whose misfortune it is to live under this cruel and mindless state, be dishonoured to the extent that whilst murderers and executioners and thieves and robbers, many of them foreigners, are given ‘amnesty’, thousands of its poor brothers and sisters languish in its awful jails awaiting trial for petty offences such as gambling Rs10 in a game of cards, and other such ludicrous misdemeanours?

Who came up with this particular jewel of an amnesty for the Swat criminals please? They not only brought mayhem and death to that valley, but also took up arms against the state. Surely treason of the first order, what? And yet an amnesty is being considered for them? If you must give the Yahoos amnesty, then please open the gates of all the jails in Pakistan and release those who are lesser criminals.


The creators of AHMED & SALIM series are Tom Trager and Or Paz

The new Israeli cartoon on YouTube, “Ahmed and Salim” launched in late February 2009 is intended to mock terrorists. That’s what animators Tom Trager and Or Paz claim.

Throughout the four-part series during each 3-4 minute episode (the first one viewed 400,000 times in one week), Ahmed and Salim's father tries to coerce them to kill Jews.

Although the Israel-based animators Trager and Paz state that they “do not think bad of Arabs,” and “simply dislike people in general,” it would be hard not to call the cartoon racist.

World-wide appeal

In an interview the creators said the show is not an attack on Arabs. “Ahmed and Salim are not about Arabs at all. It's mostly a metaphor for how idiotic religion is."

"Muslims are known to be extremists so we poke fun at them. We just like pissing off groups who take themselves too seriously - with Arabs though we have no problems at all.”

Depicted much worse than the prototypical “bad Arab," Ahmed and Salim's father, Yasser, is an anti-Semitic misogynist who rapes ten year olds, while trying to convince his kids to become “terrorists.”

Take one scene in an episode that shows the father reading to his kids a bedtime story – an anti-Semitic version of Little Red Riding Hood. “And what will you do Ahmed and Salim if you see a soulless Jew at your home?” the father asks.

We’ll shoot him in the genitals and laugh!” they answer back.

When asked if Yasser the father reflected the way they viewed Arabs in Israel, Trager and Paz said, “Not at all, we have nothing against Arabs or Muslims and we certainly did not grow up being taught they were some kind of evil or anything like that.”

But, Habeeb told French TV, with Ahmed and Salim the historical context is lost. “I know enough about real life in Palestine to understand what is true and what isn’t, but most viewers won’t have that kind of background. And because the cartoons are subtitled (in English and Hebrew) they can be viewed by audiences worldwide."

Indeed, the characters speak gibberish, not Arabic, and the only discernible words actually spoken are English curses.

Meanwhile, the teens Ahmed and Salim are made more benign because they entertain the trappings of the West - watching Western TV, playing video games, and spending huge chunks of their time on Facebook.

Normalizing stereotypes

Whether or not Trager and Paz are aware that they are contributing to hateful stereotypes misses the point.

By all indications they don't think they are, but it would be hard to imagine that the two Israelis are unaware that Ahmed and Salim builds on a rich history of "Arab" vilification in the media.

Perhaps Israeli creators, Trager and Paz, did not intend to perpetuate myths of Arabs and Muslims in Israeli society and in the West, but Ahmed and Salim does just that.

Still, the cartoon's creators said: “Through Ahmed & Salim we learned to tolerate groups even more, and so do many other people who send us fan mail about being more open-minded since this show! What do you know? These two nerds may even bring peace to this world.”

The video may be provocative, stereotypes - however the kernel of truth is apparent. It is not a castigation of Islam or Muslims per se - but a satire on terrorism. The cartoons are meant to depict the ludicrousness not only of terrorism, but also our perceptions of terrorism in the western world. Everything in the show is intended to be hyperbolic, and I think by taking to the extremes these stereotypes, it makes a valid political satire of the futility of the moral justifications behind terrorism.

BuA: One of points mentioned above : Where Ahmed & Salim's father rapes 10 year olds - has its roots elsewhere - a fact we shall not get into now for all the jewels of Medina.

However its important to look at a recent (January 2009) pronouncement of the most senior Saudi cleric : DAILY NEWS it is permissible for 10-year-old girls to marry and those who think they're too young are doing the girls an injustice.

Excuse me, did you say - doing the girls an injustice ????



Wednesday, April 22, 2009



The Pakistani military was defeated in its three offensives designed to oust the Taliban, who were led by Mullah Fazlullah, this prompted the government to promise the implementation of sharia and bring an end to military operations in exchange for peace.

But the Taliban have violated the peace agreement multiple times since the initial ceasefire was instituted in mid-February, and have continued to do so since Zardari signed the sharia legislation into law. And the Taliban are forcefully expanding their influence in neighboring regions.

The Taliban have reestablished checkpoints in Swat and have started to conduct patrols. In the neighboring district of Buner, a region the Taliban overran in just eight short days with minimal resistance, the Taliban are sending in more troops. The Taliban are also patrolling and manning checkpoints in Buner, while its followers are preaching in mosques and openly recruiting young men to fight.

The Swat Taliban are also flaunting their control of the region. Muslim Khan, a spokesman for Fazlullah, hit the media circuit and bragged that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other associates were welcome to shelter in Swat.

Khan also said the Taliban would not lay down their weapons, nor would they stop fighting until sharia was enforced throughout all of Pakistan. Jihad "will continue till the Day of Judgment (BuA: REMEMBER - GHAZWATUL HIND, KHORASAN)," Khan told Dawn. He demanded Pakistan shut down traditional courts and threatened lawyers that they would be punished if they tried to practice law in Swat.

Khan's statements echoed those of Sufi Mohammed, the leader of the banned pro-Taliban movement that negotiated the peace agreement with the government. During a rally in Swat on April 19, Sufi said has followers would not rest until sharia is enforced through all of Pakistan.

Note 1: Hamid Gul, the creator of Taliban and ex-ISI chief exactly wants the same thing – sharia be enforced through all of Pakistan.

Note 2: Current ISI Chief Shuja Pasha commented : Mullah Fazlullah as a “true patriot” for offering to fight India post 26/11.

Amazing, if we look at the first sentence of this article and am repeating: “The Pakistani military was defeated in its three offensives designed to oust the Taliban, led by Mullah Fazlullah, which prompted the government to promise the implementation of sharia and an end to military operations in exchange for peace.”

How do you surrender to someone whom you call a patriot? Interesting – but hold that thought for the time being.

Note 3: Hamid Gul, Nawaz Sharif, and Osama bin Laden conspire to assassinate Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. ISI Director Hamid Gul contacted Osama bin Laden, who was then known to provide financial support to Afghan mujahiddin, to pay for a coup/assassination of Bhutto. Gul also brings Nawaz Sharif, then the governor of Punjab province and a rival of Bhutto, into the plot. Bin Laden agrees to provide $10 million on the condition that Sharif transforms Pakistan into a strict Islamic state, which Sharif accepts.



Pakistan can thank a few dogged senators in 1998 who blocked Nawaz Sharif’s 15th amendment bill which was to make Sharia Pakistan’s supreme law. Read this article in Jang newspaper - click here.

Interestingly Taliban say that they will welcome Osama with open arms and like a brother and shelter him and his men. Why ever not? When did ISI stop collaborating with Al-Qaeda?

Keep the above three points in mind and focus back on Taliban’s move into Buner. Given the extensive relations both militarily and ideologically between Taliban, ISI and Pakistan Army, does it not smack of being too complicit, eg: the way Pakistan Army lost to Fazlullah and allowed Sharia in SWAT and now Taliban marches into Buner unopposed. It is all orchestrated and co-ordinated. All this talk of Pakistan Army being spread thin is hogwash.


Kamran Shafi writing in DAWN - 14th April, 2009: “"Let’s go back to the most recent ‘flag march’ the Taliban carried out from Buner to Mardan via Swabi and see its effects already furthering the Taliban’s agenda. Please go to and see what mayhem they are creating there, recruiting jobless youths by encouraging them to ‘take-over’ their respective areas and neighbourhoods. What, pray, would the loquacious Mian Iftikhar, the Frontier’s information minister, say about this latest in a series of coming conquests for the Taliban?

Does he know that Mansehra and Haripur are next on the hit list and that once in Mansehra the Taliban are but a few hours’ drive from the Karakoram Highway? Does someone in the federal non-government know that once they tie up with the Sunni Chilasis who hate the Shia Gilgitis with a passion, there will be havoc of a very special kind in our Northern Areas?

Sunnis never really had any love for the Shias. The Deoband fatwas prohibit Sunnis from even sharing meals with Shias.

While I have been advocating from day 1 that these Taliban are just taking the military and ideological (Deobandi) tenets of Pakistan Army and ISI forward – the western world feels that Pakistan Army needs to understand that the threat to it is from Taliban and not from India. It is not the Pakistan Army that needs to understand – it is the Western world that needs to understand.

The case of Maj General Alavi. Professional Pakistan Army makes way for Jehadist Pakistan Army:

Major-General Faisal Alavi, a former head of Pakistan’s special forces was murdered in November 2008 after threatening to expose Pakistani army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants.

TIMES ONLINE: He named two generals in a letter to the head of the army. He warned that he would “furnish all relevant proof”.

Aware that he was risking his life, he gave a copy to me (Carey Schoefield) and asked me to publish it if he was killed. Soon afterwards he told me that he had received no reply.

“It hasn’t worked,” he said. “They’ll shoot me.”

He told me how one general had done an astonishing deal with Baitullah Mehsud, the 35-year-old Taliban leader, now seen by many analysts as an even greater terrorist threat than Osama Bin Laden.

Mehsud, the main suspect in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto late last year, is also believed to have been behind a plot to bomb transport networks in several European countries including Britain, which came to light earlier this year when 14 alleged conspirators were arrested in Barcelona.

Yet, according to Alavi, a senior Pakistani general came to an arrangement with Mehsud “whereby – in return for a large sum of money – Mehsud’s 3,000 armed fighters would not attack the army”.

The two senior generals named in Alavi’s letter to Kayani were in effect complicit in giving the militants free rein in return for refraining from attacks on the Pakistani army, he said.

Four days later, he was driving through Islamabad when his car was halted by another vehicle. At least two gunmen opened fire from either side, shooting him eight times. His driver was also killed.

The reports blamed militants, although the gunmen used 9mm pistols, a standard army issue, and the killings were far more clinical than a normal militant attack.

Friends and family members were taken aback to be told by serving and retired officers alike that “this was not the militants; this was the army”. A great many people believed the general had been murdered to shut him up.



Bengal Under Attack (BuA): I have from the very beginning taken a line and it is this: Deobandi / Wahabbi elements have taken control of Pakistani Army / ISI apparatus. And they and Taliban are one and the same – one an overt arm the other covert arm of the military. Now Taliban can no longer be called covert arm. Though Lashkar e Taiba (LeT), Jaish e Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar e Jhangvi (LeJ) and others still remain below the radar – so called.

Repeating the point again & again: The reality is that both – the Taliban and the jihadis on one side and the Pakistan Army, have the same slogan — jihad fi’sbillah – jihad in the name of Allah.


As expected, the Swat “Sharia for peace” deal appears to be falling apart — within a week of being ratified. The collapse is yet another manifestation of a weakened Pakistani state being manipulated by Taliban rebels. But a far important point is that the current situation is untenable.

Pakistani government leaders cannot remain on the path of negotiations while the Taliban are going for the jugular. The entire rationale behind the peace agreement was that the insurgency in Swat could be ended if Sharia was enforced in the restive area. The Taliban not only have shown that they are unwilling to disarm, but their ambitions are escalating from a local to a national level.

This leaves the government with two choices: 1) Either continue down the current path — allowing the jihadists to advance their cause while trying to avoid confrontation

or 2) draw the line. In either case, conflict would be inevitable.

The difference is one of time and location. The Pakistanis either can fight the jihadists now, seeking to limit the conflict to the Pashtun regions of the northwest, or wait to fight — while the jihadists move to strengthen their ability to strike the Punjab province, the heart of Pakistan. The state is being pushed toward taking action by both the deteriorating security situation at home and mounting pressure from the United States. But it is not clear whether there is sufficient political will in Islamabad to go on the offensive.

Much of this is because the state is caught between the contradictory needs to combat the “bad” Taliban (those that fight in Pakistan) while still maintaining influence over the “good” ones (those that fight in Afghanistan). This distinction itself is a problem: The jihadist landscape is far more complicated than these neat binary categorizations would seem to allow. The problems Islamabad faces in this regard offers a glimpse of what the Obama administration can expect in its efforts to distinguish between what Washington sees as Taliban it can deal with versus Taliban it cannot deal with.

Overall, Pakistan’s situation is far more dire than the situation the United States will face in Afghanistan as it increases troop commitments and seeks out pragmatic Taliban with whom to negotiate. For Islamabad, the war is hitting home now more than ever before.

But is this a correct assessment?

Let’s look at the Buner situation.

A.If Taliban close the Karakoram highway and demand a separate Pashtunistan– then we can assume that Taliban is working against the interest of Pakistan Army and state.

B. And if Taliban do not close the Highway but move on up and gang up with the Chalsis Sunnis and massacre the Shias of Gilgit – well then it will be clear that Pakistan Army is orchestrating the moves. As I have shown earlier, the ratio of Shias to Sunnis has gone from 4:1 to 4:3 and Musharraf together with Osama were responsible for the first wave of massacre of Shias of Gilgit.

I am betting on the latter.

Awami National Party (ANP) was swept to power in the elections in NWFP – and they were looked upon with suspicion for being too “leftist” in their leanings – a remnant of old linkages with Soviet Union. They were also seen as being soft on India – being a party of “Frontier Gandhi”. The Pakistan Army thought the demands of Pashtinistan was ANP inspired as billboards started sprouting up dime a dozen under their jurisdiction.

To suppress Pushtun nationalism with a pan-Islamic nationalism, Pakistan Army unleashed its children – the Taliban onto the ANP parliamentarians. They were killed by Taliban, its leader sent packing to USA and areas were quickly ceded by Pakistan Army without a fight to these Taliban fighters. And lo and behold, Sharia is implemented. The remnants of ANP leaders quickly either fled or joined Taliban to save themselves and their kins.

Pause and think: What did the people of the region vote for? They voted for ANP. And now what have they got? They got Taliban and Sharia.

The Karakoram highway links Pakistan to China and runs through this region. Pakistan Army felt if Pashtunistan became a reality, this part would be snapped up and merged with Afghanistan, depriving them of road link to China. For a country that depends on China for its armaments, exports – this situation will be untenable.


Logically therefore ask : Why is Pakistan Army quietly watching the takeover of this region by Taliban if this area is so vital for their survival and geo-politics? Maybe – Pakistan Army is not bothered. Maybe it feels that the ANP and Pashtunistan demands are killed off by this Taliban takeover. And Taliban is appeased at getting Sharia. And Pakistan Army gets Taliban to control the region autonomously for a fee – but the area will be fully secured and free of separatist Pashtunistan demands.

Ahmed Quraishi – who together with Zaid Hamid, run TV shows in Pakistan are right wingers aligned to Pakistan Military. Their thoughts and articles, devoid of deliberate disinformation, from time to time border on the truth and mindset of the Paksitan military establishment.

In one such article: Pashtunistan Billboards in Pakistan – Ahmed Quraishi makes a few points:

1. And now we have 40-feet wide billboards that have mysteriously sprung up on the main roads of NWFP showing the map of a new country – Pashtunistan – with meticulously defined borders that incorporate most of northwestern Pakistan. The Pakistani Pashtun, the bravest and the most loyal subjects of the Pakistani state, are being pushed toward separatism with full speed. This ‘billboard campaign’ has to be the boldest statement of rebellion and separatism ever made in the history of nation-states anywhere in the world.

2. The deliberate destabilization of Pakistan through American military and political interference will result in turning large parts of the country against the federal government and increasingly draw the military into a civil war that will bleed us for decades to come in the presence of covert support from Afghan soil. The result would be a weakened Pakistani state unable to sustain control over its territory and over its vast arsenal of nuclear and strategic assets.

3. Some parts of the American political/security establishment are involved in an ambitious plan to secure America’s position in and around Afghanistan. This apparently entails empowering India and removing a little ‘nuisance’ called Pakistan. American officials dismiss Pakistan’s legitimate strategic interests as ‘obsessions’. In 2007, the outlines of an American media campaign began to emerge, harping on the theme of the looming disintegration of Pakista

BuA: The disintegration of Pakistan is a doomsday scenario being played out in every jehadi Pakistani General’s mind. It is logical that they be paranoid – as they are forever trying to push “non-state” actors into India, Afghanistan and indeed into their own territories for their agenda. Hence it becomes natural for these Generals to dream up scenarios which their enemies may have planned for Pakistan – true or not. As a result conspiracy theories are rife in Pakistan – it is because they themselves are forever conspiring against others. This psychological aspect has to be factored in as this does go beyond a mere map of Ralph Peters.

Going beyond the obvious: A few statements of Taliban and Hamid Gul (Ex ISI head and godfather of Taliban and Lashkar e Taiba). All statements made in FEB / MAR 2009.



STATEMENT 1: EDUCATION (Important post blowing up of schools etc).

TALIBAN – Muslim Khan: We are Muslims. Islam provides its own statement of education, politics, economics and justice. If Islam is a complete code of life, then what is the need to import education from United Kingdom?

HAMID GUL: "We should be ready to lead the world and for this, we need ideological educational institutions," he said, maintaining that there were lot of schools pushing students against the ideology of Islam and Pakistan.

In such circumstances, there was need for ideological institutions across Pakistan, he underlined. He said Pakistan was not formed for economic gains or other petty reasons rather it was formed to lead the world after providing a practical and workable Islamic model to govern people. He said his aim of life was to promote this idea and he was not retired or tired and the enemies of Pakistan knew it well. "Pakistan and Islam are tied to each other," he concluded.


TALIBAN: Sufi Mohammad: Sharia does not permit Democracy. He goes on to give 6 points:

1. He asserted that sharia (as interpreted by the Taliban) is seen as divine law.

2. He defined a Muslim not just in terms of someone who believes in the Oneness of God and the fact that Muhammad (PBUH) was the last prophet of God, but as one who supports and helps to implement the sharia.

3. He stipulated that the existing democratic order was an “un-Islamic system of the infidels” and that supporting such a system was a great sin.

4. The persistence of the “un-Islamic system of the infidels”, in his view, would destroy Pakistan and that he and his supporters would defend the country in the sense of attempting to establish their version of the sharia.

5. The superior courts of Pakistan were seen as part of the un-Islamic system of infidels and therefore rejected as institutions where legal appeals against qazi courts were to be made. Instead, he claimed that such appeals would be made before the soon to be formed institution of Darul Qaza.

6. The Nizam-e Adl (the system of justice established in Swat) as an application of the Taliban version of sharia under the “peace deal” was seen by the Sufi as only the first stage of the implementation process of sharia. According to him, sharia would be completed when it encompassed the institutional structures of Pakistan’s polity, economy and education.

MUSLIM KHAN: If we are 100% loyal to Pakistan, our leaders and rulers are 200% disloyal to Pakistan and its subjects. They rule us against the ideology and the constitution of the country. When Pakistan came into being in 1947, they did not implement Islamic laws. This was a betrayal against the nation, religion and God. Then in Malakand division, when the government promised us the implementation of Islamic laws - we have the documents to show this - why did they betray us? Why were Islamic laws not implemented? Therefore, our struggle is justified and those who oppose Islamic laws, they are outlaws.

HAMID GUL: He said that no super power could change the destiny. He termed religious faith behind the recent movement that resulted in restoration of deposed judiciary. "That is why the US had to surrender to the will of Pakistanis. The army, for the first time, sided with masses," he added.

"Two nations theory has crossed boundaries of sub-continent and engulfed whole globe," said Gul, adding that Muslims were being targeted everywhere.

He said politicians divided the nation irrespective of the nobility of their cause and "we have yet to decide about system to run our country."


Sharia is going to be implemented over Pakistan – one way or another. Just a matter of time and opportunity. As I showed before, it was neither the Taliban nor Pakistan Army that tried to enforce Sharia over Pakistan – it was NAWAZ SHARIF.

Dr. AKMAL HUSSAIN writing in DAILY TIMES (Apr 23, 2009) states: "Clearly there is a high quality military mind behind the Taliban strategy. In the first phase, large swathes of FATA were captured and a system of governance established by the Taliban at the level of a system of justice, the provision of livelihood for the poor, and a system of recruitment and military training. In the second stage, they enlarged their territorial control over some of the settled areas of the NWFP.

At the same time, guerrilla raids were conducted on key targets in the major cities of the country. The purpose was to undermine the confidence of the citizens in the ability of the state to fulfil the most basic function in terms of which it seeks legitimacy: protection of life of its citizens.

In the third stage, there is a shift from the valleys to the urban centres where strongholds have now been established. These strongholds of urban guerrillas are located in major cities such as Peshawar in the north, Lahore in the east, Multan and Karachi in the south and Quetta in the west. Pakistan is encircled by urban guerrilla forces poised to unleash mayhem of an intensity and scale unprecedented in Pakistan. If and when this happens, it could be a prelude to takeover.

The events in Swat fit a pattern of strategy that is slowly being unveiled. Only time will tell whether the Swat deal will give “peace in our time” as Chamberlain put it or will constitute what Churchill called the “end of the beginning”.

For many Pakistanis who are now leaving the country, this is the beginning of the end

EDITORIAL in DAILY TIMES PAKISTAN (23rd April 2009): "The message is clear: the Taliban are linked to Al Qaeda and they are counting on such elements in Punjab to help them take their war down to other parts of Pakistan. When the Swat deal was being sewed up, only the MQM objected, but it was soon isolated in parliament when the National Assembly voted in favour of the NAR. The media-mujahideen acted in the same irresponsible manner in which they had acted during the Lal Masjid affair by siding with the Taliban over the videoed whipping of a 17-year-old girl. The Supreme Court added its bit by releasing the Lal Masjid cleric who immediately announced his resolve to spread the Taliban shariat in Pakistan.

Finally, it is the army that has to step forward and face the Taliban. It has baulked so far because of adverse public opinion and an equally lethal media tilt. But now that the politicians are waking up to the danger and the media is increasingly disabused, the army must end its India-driven strategy and try to save Pakistan from becoming the caliphate of Al Qaeda. In fact, Islamabad has to reach an understanding with New Delhi over the matter in order to get the army to mobilise in the numbers required. However, if this is not done, the people will have to fight the war on their own. The MQM is asking the right question: what if the Taliban come and the army is not there to protect us?

Swat is the challenge staring us in the face. If we don’t accept it and fight the Taliban, then the world will have to come and fight it the way it thinks fit


Taliban takeover is a matter of semantics. It is Pakistan Army – the jehadist core that in conjunction with Taliban aim to bring in a Islamic renaissance in Pakistan and help to bind in the country. In doing so, it will clearly endanger the existence of India and Israel.

The Hadiths of GHAZWATUL HIND makes it binding and compulsory for Taliban to fight India before moving onto Israel. Kashmir is the first step towards that and we will see exponentially high infiltration and not the sporadic ones we are seeing now. And a nuclear armed Taliban will have a far lower threshold of using nuclear weapons than a democratic state of Pakistan.

USA will be of no help. Time and again these words ring in my ears:

Zbigniew Brzezinski: "What was more important in the world view of history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet empire? A few stirred up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The article (and not the title) is written by MALOY KRISHNA DHAR - ex Intelligence Bureau honcho and a spy master par excellence, and someone I admire deeply.

I have received permission to reprint the article from Maloy Dhar - which I will ask all readers to read in minute detail - to truly understand the circus of nominations. It is astounding - probably reaching 6 sigma levels and the operations could even get ISO 9000 certificate if it were to be documented. Before going into the article, if some of you have the time, will request you to read two articles about Maloy Dhar:

1. My friend, the rebel, Maloy Krishna Dhar

2. Intellibriefs - Assam for Muslims - a potent plan.

Look at the Transparency International page depicting corrupt countries. India is very corrupt and it would be foolish to gloat at the fact that Pakistan and Bangladesh are more corrupt - in fact at one time in recent past Bangladesh was the most corrupt country as per TI map - three years in a row, and I had the opportunity to interact with TI officials in Bangladesh at that point in their swank office.

THE MAIN ARTICLE WHICH APPEARED IN MALOY DHAR'S PAGE AS: JAGORE.COM - THE GREAT INDIAN CIRCUS: (Note: The pictures and cartoons I am posting - which are not part of Dhar's articles - just to give a color break to this serious article, and where I have made a point I have stated it as BuA : Bengal Under Attack).

Let me share with you some very advanced techniques of Indian election that I happened to witness only 5 years ago.

It so happened that I was required to visit a number of parliamentary constituencies in 2004 in Purvanchal (near about Balia), Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra mandated by a consortium of cephologists. I happened to befriend a Palm Party (BuA: Congress Party has palm as its mascot) master mind in charge of Bihar constituencies (prabhari). Personally he was opposed to poll adjustment with RJD, but was compelled by the highest in the party to cooperate. I decided to adopt my friend as the model organiser of the election circus. Materials I reproduce below were borrowed from the command process of my friend who briefed the party candidates on what all they were required to do from step one (securing party ticket) to step two (preparations), execution process and management issues.

Nearly 200 aspirants were seated in a hall waiting to have a darshan of the leader seated in an isolated room with a single aide, couple of large suitcases stacked in a corner and surprisingly me, an outsider, who happened to earn confidence of the mighty prabhari (in charge) for the state of Bihar. One by one the 200 odd aspirant lambs appeared for darshan simply to plead for a party ticket. The prabhari had a fixed drill. The aide ritually collected a briefcase and emptied the currency notes in the suitcases and the lamb seated himself with folded hands and apologetic smile and sunken hungry looks.

It is difficult to narrate all the 200 odd lamb’s encounter with the prabhari. However, I structured a model from what I heard and seen to sensitise my cranium and to realize that the ritual of election had added on many adjuncts, which were not intended to parts of the holy democratic process prescribed in the Constitution and the Representation of Peoples’ Act etc and other laws of the land. I presumed that some of my visitors were well conversant with the rituals. They followed the drill like disciplined soldiers of the Palm Party. (Do not misread me: Lotus and other parties also follow the same ritual with some modifications crafted by their expert technicians.

However, those who are victims of the TATA tea ad and feel allured to turn up to the polling centre, may like to glance through the following paragraphs as ramblings of an old foggy who turned a holy cynic tiger after eating hundreds of humans and animals. I promise I am not a clawless and toothless foggy tiger. I learnt while doing certain jobs and I share what I learnt from the Bihar prabhari. So, be prepared to be shocked.

Prabhari Ubacha (the in charge said):

1.What you have given here is the darshan money ( BuA: Indian word meaning giving money to someone just to see a person. In USA - there is a concept of US 1000 dinner dos with congressional nominees - here in India it is still unrefined). It qualifies you to be short listed and your name to be forwarded by the Pradesh party to the High Command (HC). The High Command (whosoever it might be) would be the final arbitrator. The HC is helped by A, B. C. & D (no name please).

2.Once your name is forwarded, go over to Delhi with a few supporters meet A, B, C, & D with adequate lubricants. Carry trunk full of money. Do not forget to meet X Patel. He is the conscience keeper of the HC. Satisfy him with the demanded amount. The final satisfaction lay with the HC. If you have any conduit to reach the HC, spend lavishly and reach there. The entire process may cost you rupees 10 million (= Rupees one crore).

(BuA: Mr X Patel - hmmm, who can that be - Sonia's close confidante - AHMED PATEL??, HC = High Command a possible reference to SONIA GANDHI)

3.Once you figure in the honour list you have to take several steps to jump into the real election war. Do not treat it as election. It is a war against your opponents and this war has to be fought with all the weapons you have. I am here to suggest some of weapons and ingredients that go in winning an election war. Remember one cardinal point. You have to generate hundreds of temporary employment to run the machine. Keep apart 10 million for the heads you have to hire.

4.Suppose you have 4 state assembly constituencies in your constituency. Divide each assembly segment into 6 operational zones and appoint a core team of managers with a reliable person as the chief manager. They should in turn appoint similar controlling and operational bodies in a cluster of 5 panchayats. Each lower formation should be composed keeping in view the caste composition. Say in panchayat cluster R you have mostly Chamar voters with assorted Bhangis, Nais, Sutars, Mallhas etc, include adequate representative from each caste. These are your front fortifications.

5.Take care that your opponents from Lotus, Cycle and Laltin (lantern) parties have considerable access amongst low caste voters take necessary steps to neutralize them. If necessary use some of the Senas (private armies) and Naxals to reduce their influences. Do not shy away from violence. Remember, violence is the mother of this universe. We all are here because our beginning started with a violent Big Bang. Spend lavishly to win over the caste votes. Keep apart 10.5 millions.

6.Form a core managing body at the centre of your activity. Staff that with loyal relatives and friends and only loyal party followers. Do not neglect the existing stalwarts. Maintain low profile before them and keep them happy with whatever resources they require feeling happy-wine, entertainment (perhaps maidens), money and of course lots of promises. Do not annoy the Thakur, Brahmin, Bhumihar and important of all the kayasth stalwarts. In final count they and the urban middle caste influence the opinion making process. The kayasths are low profile snakes. If you neglect they would sure bite. However, to neutralize some of the recalcitrant upper caste stalwarts do not hesitate to use force. You can use Senas and the lower castes to initiate caste war and exploit the situation the way you prefer.

7.If the lower caste voters go against you use the upper castes to burn their villages and kill a couple of the untouchables.

8.If the Muslims show recalcitrance engineer communal riots. Get villages burnt and kill a few scores. They would run to the Palm automatically. After all, the Palm has been promising them the secular shield all these years. They would prefer the Palm over sure death.

9.Yes. If certain segmental areas are dominated by the Muslims woo them adequately. Promise them reservation in education, services, recruitment in Army and Police and Haj subsidy at higher rates, establishment of Urdu University, and any other local demand they may have. Shed tons of tear in the name of secularism. These Muslim lambs have been our vote bank for 50 odd years. Be sure that minimum 13 to 15% of your voters are Muslims and all these votes are denied to Cycle and Laltin. The Lotus people have no hold on them. Remind them that the Palm has always protected them and the Palm is the symbol of secularism that has ensured minority safety by inserting Article 25 to 30 in the Constitution of India, despite opposition from several quarters. The promises made by the Palm party in 1916 and scrupulously followed in 1935 were included in the Constitution mainly to ensure that they would unhesitatingly support the Palm.

10.It is possible that some minority leaders may lean to Cycle, Laltin and hammer & sickle. Try to neutralize them by using violence; if necessary by hiring goons from outside your constituency. There are plenty of such hands in Delhi, UP and other states. You may even engage some mafia and smuggling dons to take care of them. There should be no shortage of guns and bullets.

11.I would tell you first about the structural formations that you would require fighting the election. Listen to me on the logistics that you would require to win this Mahabharata war.

12.Contact the professional shadow voter suppliers from neighbouring constituencies. Hire about 10000 shadow voters in advance and get their voter ID card prepared and ensure that their names find place in voter list. The shadow voter contractors would require about Rs. 10 lakhs inclusive of honorarium for the proxy voters. Add another 5 lakhs for their secret accommodation at different places with full supply of whisky and other drinks, TV sets, cooks and all other facilities. Obviously provide for their transport arrangements. Be ready to spent 10.8 million rupees.

13.Hire about 50 pehlwans (= musclemen) from different akharas. They would be your basic muscle power to be used in thwarting booth capture by your opposition candidates, to silence your adversaries and to storm certain polling booths that you are required to capture. Bear the cost.

14.Immediately order 10,000 bottles of IMFL (Indian manufactured foreign liquor) and Theka Sharab Desi (Indian made local liquor). Store these at secret locations. Tap breweries in Nepal, Bengal and Sikkim. Do not tap local suppliers. These have to be distributed in sensitive areas about 3 to 1 day before election to induce cluster voters.

15.Order 500 cell phones and 700 SIM cards to be procured from reliable vendors and if necessary from neighbouring states. These would be required by your area in charges, booth managers, block managers etc. Keep a secret record.

16.Order 300 handheld VHF sets to be used by booth in charges, your control room and group leaders of the shadow voters. All efforts should be made that communication between your field workers and your control room is smooth.

17.Procure 10000 saris, 10000 dhotis, plenty of bindis, churiyas, cosmetics, and blankets for presenting to target voters among the low caste segments. Keep enough cash @ 500 for individual voters and @ 2000 for sardars, mukhis, and pradhans. These have to be distributed only on the eve of the polling day.

18.Hire singers to compose catchy tunes mimicking popular bollywood and Bhojpurui hit songs to be recorded in cassettes, disc and circulated free amongst voters. These would also be used your propaganda vehicles at weekly hats, market places and other places where people turn up in great numbers.

19.Hire video film makers and get quality video films made linking you with the common toiling people. There should some shots showing you harvesting, planting and even cleaning garbage. You should look like one of the villagers clad in ordinary or scanty clothes. Also such video should connect you directly with the glorious leaders of the HC and the long traditions of the Palm Party. Circulate these video/DVD discs free of cost.

20.Contact PR men in Mumbai and hire at least two top male and two female cine artists to perform in your constituency, deliver lecture in your favour and appeal for the victory of the Palm. Tie up with the HC, as they have panels of such film artists who generally campaign for the party.

21.Hire in advance at least two helicopters to be used by you and the HC people for electioneering. Suggest contact the HC. They have panels of helicopter and small aircraft suppliers. Go by the wisdom of the HC. They have permanent give and take arrangements with the suppliers.

22.Now for local use hire at least 200 Latahaits (musclemen equipped with long bamboo batons) to frighten and maim recalcitrant voters and also to silence your opponents in your own party and in the opposition parties.

23.Purchase in advance at least 50 jeeps and hire as many required to ensure mobility of your campaigners. Tap the Kolkata markets.

24.Hire street corner drama groups from local and Delhi/Kolkata art and dance institutes for performing in busy places. Some efficient script writers should be hired to write catchy skits in favour of you and the Palm Party.

25.Book nearly a dozen hotel rooms for your guests like film artists, and important media persons.

26.Engage someone reliable as your media manager. He would mobilize print and electronic media persons for projecting you as the sure winner candidate and to vilify your opponents. Keep some scandalous stories ready about your opponents to be publicized at crucial moments of campaigning. Remember that the more you besmirch your opponents the better glow you add to your persona.

27.Engage at least 5 sleek operators who would be tagged with the observers from the Election Commission. No effort should be made to affront them. Rather they should be pampered as much as possible. Your managers should try to find out the background of each observer and modify their approach to suit the personality of the concerned observer.

28.Remain on the right side of the DG Police, Range DIG and district SPs. Befriend as many thana darogas as possible. If possible get officers of your choice posted in police stations where your position is shaky. Remember police can influence more than two third of the voters. We still live in feudal society and police is Mai baap. Feed them as they demand. Do not try to save money. The more you spend better returns you would get once you are elected to the parliament. If you spent 10 crores you can earn 500 crores in 5 years. How? I would tell you the ways and means later.

29.Yes. Look out for important Muslim maulanas, musclemen and gunners who would campaign for you amongst the Muslim voters, maim them if necessary and use the guns where necessary. Use of the gun should be secular in nature—applicable to all religious groups as and when the situation demands to maim, kill, frighten and capture booths. Hire some from Nepal. Their face would be unknown.

30.Most important point is procurement of ink removers. To caste shadow votes repeatedly your voters would require removing the election ink mark. These ampules are sold cheap at Burra Bazaar in Kolkata. Procure at least 3000 ampules and distribute to every booth in charge.

31.Liaise with the DG Police so that only state police and Home Guards are posted near the booth and Central polices are deployed in peripheral areas. Raise the bogey of Naxal interference and get the Central police shifted to remote areas to chase the Naxals. Try to influence some Naxals to create some trouble in your constituency so that the EC understand your argument better.

32.Obviously you will have block committees, booth committees, and booth volunteers on payment and transport arrangements. They should be paid handsomely as daily retaining charges and food and entertainment (liquid).

33. Just to remind you please rehearse the voting-delay tactics by raising frequent objections, booth capturing technology, Shadow voting science and plundering a few booth and destroying the EVMs where the going is not good for you. Deny this pleasure to your opponents where they want to outwit you.

34.Obtain some propaganda material from HC but get your own materials prepared from other states so that the EC cannot guess your expenditure limits.

35.Yes. Appoint a good and crafty CA who would fudge your election expense account and most of the expenditures would not be reflected the in the balance shit. Maintain two books. One for the EC and one for yourself. Remember you have to realize more than ten times the money you spend from the people of this country after you get elected. That is democracy: it is right of the people to be ruled by a privileged few who win at the cost of the people and bleed the people after winning. Democracy has a price to be paid. Everything has a price. Is not it?

36.So much for the pre-poll instructions. I would, as Bihar Prabhari, come again to teach you the exact polling procedure, rigging procedures and precautions to be taken on counting days.

37.Separate lessons would be given on the technology of frightening, maiming, killing and subduing your opponents. Application of the tools of killing is a different science. These are only a few tips on the technology of election. Wait for my next visit. I have more for you and other candidates.

After the two day-long long educational sessions I emerged as a wiser person. Just made a meek query: Brother how much a candidate has to spend? He lighted a cigarette, offered me one and smiled mysteriously. Finally he broke silence: Democracy is a costly affair friend. In this particular constituency the Palm Party candidate has to spend 10 crores. Some constituencies may be costlier depending on the situation.

I pondered on way back to Delhi as to the total money that would be spent in this particular constituency. Palm Party 10 crores, Lotus Party 8 crores, Cycle Party 5 crores, Laltin party 7 crores, and the Elephant Party minimum 4 crores and independents minimum 1 crore. That means 33-35 crores would be spend in one constituency. Therefore in average for the 525 constituencies a total amount of nearly 18, 000 crores would be spent by the candidates only. What about the government expenses? I shuddered to imagine. What a great circus! Democracy indeed is a very costly "cracy".

(BuA: Palm party = Congress, Lotus party = BJP, Elephant party = BSP, Laltin party = RJD. Also USD 1 million = Rs. 5 crore)

However, I do not discourage you from voting. I specially appeal to the Youngistan voters and affluent segments of the society who normally do not turn out for voting. Go to and enlist yourself and come forward to change the rotten system. You have no idea about how the system functions. You need not avoid voting simply because the system is wrong. Please vote with vengeance to elect the correct person from your constituency who you believe would the best out of the entire rut. Please do not vote for the mafia, gangster, criminals, collaborators of the foreign Jihadis, known corrupt and looters and dacoits. Your democracy should be your choice: the correct choice. If you can elect at least 100 good MPs that would contribute a lot to maintain sanity inside the holy precinct we call Parliament. They would be able to work as watchdogs; the dogs have a reputation to run after loaves of meat even if they are domesticated and have been taught the ways of civilized way of eating. Even if a few out of the 100 indulge in money for question practices do not get discouraged. Your discretion and constant pressure only can rectify the rotten System. Please vote to defeat the rut and try to bring our democracy back on the rails.